Scientists have recently discovered evidence of an ancient mega-tsunami, a wave nearly 900-feet high that struck the island of Santiago 73,000 years ago.
According to a study published Monday in Science Advance
s, the tsunami was caused by the collapsing of the eastern flank of Cape Verde’s Fogo volcano.
The tsunami wave then traveled 30 miles to the island of Santiago, where it lifted giant boulders from the sea floor up onto a cliff some 600-feet high.
Those boulders, which typically reside in the marine layer of rock, were intriguing to Ricardo Ramalho, then of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
"I was puzzled by their origin. I didn't know what they meant," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune
Upon examination, Ramalho and his team found that the boulders were composed of a type of rock that "exclusively crop[s] out on the cliff faces and lower slopes of the plateau, implying a source at considerably lower elevations."
That meant they could only have been "transported uphill and inland onto the surface of the plateau."
The team soon realized that the only event that could have caused a wave to carry a boulder to the height of the plateau was a tsunami.
That pointed to the tsunami created by the Fogo volcano collapse.
"In the case of volcanic flank collapses they can be very acute, because you have all this mass collapsing basically into the oceans," said Ramalho.
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